Many students are left looking for apartments in the city, but are lost when it comes down to picking exactly where to live. For newly abandoned students, who are thrown to the curb after their sophomore year, the transition from living on campus to off campus can be especially difficult.
Charles Welker, a junior, recommends living near campus. “You gain the independence without sacrificing the college experience,” Welker said. “You can still walk to class, attend sporting events and use campus facilities such as the gym or turf fields. At the same time, you acquire all the responsibilities, which come along with renting an apartment.”
Welker, who lives on West Diamond Street, sees many advantages of living near Main campus. His fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon, is only a few blocks away. The track, subway and cafeteria are easily accessible. For Welker, location was an important factor in deciding where he wanted to live.
“Location was everything for me,” Welker said. “I saw this area as the heart of the ‘fun’ district … party central, if you will. I knew there were many students who lived in the neighborhood, and that’s where I wanted to be, in the middle of it all.”
Welker enjoys the economical aspect of not having to commute. However, he noted that closer proximity to campus usually translates into higher rent. Welker’s current rent
stands at $420 per month.
“I think a lot of [realtors] around here take advantage of us because they know we are students and they know we have to be here,” Welker stated. “There’s a scale in front of you, and you have to weigh your priorities. It may be cheaper the further away you are from campus, but you are sacrificing convenience.”
Welker, whose own rent is being raised to $460 per month next year, recognizes there to be a high demand for his neighborhood.
“It is home to a majority of the campus sororities and fraternities,” Welker said. “There’s also the Owl’s Nest and Temple Star, late night hot spots for hungry students.”
Welker labels parking as one of the area’s few downfalls. He holds Temple’s large amount of commuters responsible for swallowing up any available parking during the day.
“You can’t leave a spot during the day and expect to come back to it,” Welker said. “It won’t be there.”
Security is also a big issue for Welker. He wanted to feel that no matter where he would be living, he would be safe.
“The Temple police still patrol out here so I like that,” Welker said.
Welker knows that no matter how many police officers circle his neighborhood, there will always be some risk involved. He is comfortable walking home alone at night, but only to a certain extent.
“It’s really no different than any other part of Philadelphia,” Welker said. “My girlfriend’s car was broken into not too long ago. It took the police nearly two hours to get there.”
Welker does not frighten easily. Despite the lack of parking, his rising rent and his girlfriend’s misfortune, Welker won’t be moving any time soon.
“The positives definitely outweigh the negatives,” Welker said.
His advice for those students still looking for a place to live is simple: know what you want … and lock your doors.
“Determine where you want to live and how much you’re willing to spend right away,” Welker said. “More importantly, determine who you want to live with. No matter how nice or affordable your place is, it’s going to be hell living there if you can’t stand your roommates.”
Ryan Kneller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.